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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover





3.94 | 483 ratings

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4 stars Arena are an enigma to me. Some of the music is a little self-indulgent and lightweight when you compare it to other hard hitters within the genre. Yet, there is something about this band I really enjoy. I haven't really heard anything from them that I don't like.

Immortal? is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. It's the first with current vocalist Rob Sowden, and although he doesn't have the range that Wrightson possesses, he still makes for a capable lead vocalist. Musically, this is among their best, although it's a rather short disc. "Chosen" starts off with a Nine Inch Nails like beat, complete with the Reznor-esque deep growls coming in. Then Nolan and company just launch into the song full force. A nice opener.

"Waiting For The Flood" is pretty soft and acoustic, with some gentle guitar work from the incomparable John Mitchell. It almost takes on a "Silent Lucidity" feel.

"The Butterfly Man" proves that Sowden can handle a very sinister tone (i.e. "The Hanging Tree" from The Visitor). Nolan introduces the song with a hypnotic key intro and the song just builds from there.

"Ghost In The Firewall" is another song that begins in a very industrial song. Nolan's synths are especially prevalent and stick out above everything. They almost take on a alien if you're being spoken to through the speakers.

"Climbing Up The Net" is a bit poppy, but nice keyboard work from Nolan. It's probably the closest thing to an anthem that Arena have ever done. A lot of layers and a nice harmony during the chorus.

Actually, my favorite song on the disc is the 19:43 minute epic, Moviedrome. The low drone of Nolan's synths and the ghostly female vocals add a bit of eeriness to the song. Mitchell exhibits his dexterity on the guitar, as it interplays nicely with the vocals. The finer part of the song is the piano/vocal duet of Nolan and Sowden about 1/2 of the way through, until it's interupted by Mitchell's Gilmour-like solo. Arena handles this epic quite well, and wished they'd explore it more often on their subsequent albums.

The album closes with the soft acoustic "Friday's Dream". A nice way to bring it all together after a powerful epic like "Moviedrome".

Not sure why, but this is becoming a favorite of mine from the Arena discography. It's especially nice for the car and cranked for some odd reason. I think it warrants a 4.25-4.5 star rating.

E-Dub | 4/5 |


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